Crime and its impacts are far reaching. Punitive and other carceral responses, including the criminalisation of young people have broad social, legal, economic and health consequences. Media and public discourse are often reactionary, emphasising law and order responses, but most crimes are rooted in broader social circumstances.

Expanding prisons and relying on punitive responses is unsustainable and unnecessary since effective intervention and preventative strategies can lead to desistance. Various professionals are involved in efforts to productively and positively respond to crime whether this is from a welfare, legal, criminal justice or mental health perspective.

This international conference seeks to bring together policy contributors, lawyers, clinicians, legal decision makers, advocates, and researchers to work together and learn from each other to explore and describe, from a cross-disciplinary perspective, legal, welfare, clinical and strategic responses to addressing, intervening and preventing criminal behaviour.


25–27 September 2023


28 September 2023

Keynote speakers

Neil Campbell, Lawrence Jones, Pernilla Leviner, Wendy Sinclair, Matthew Wilson

We are inviting presenters to take a life-course perspective and to consider how efforts at various stages of the lifespan can help improve personal trajectories, enhance wellbeing, and improve community safety.

The conference will be held at Palazzo Vaj, the Monash University Centre in Prato, Tuscany, which provides an exciting opportunity to meet in an inviting setting to share research, practice and policy developments that enable a critical examination of novel approaches to understanding and managing violence across the lifespan. This exciting conference is hosted by Swinburne University of Technology and Monash University.

The call for abstracts has now closed.

25–28 September 2023
Conference Program

25–28 September 2023

Stronger Trajectories, Safer Communities: Improving welfare, mental health and legal responses to crime

Key themes

The conference will give particular attention to:

Understanding crime and criminal behaviour in adults and young people

Family violence and child welfare

Gender and cultural considerations

Legal reforms for managing criminal behaviour

Advances in prevention and intervention programs and approaches to desistance from crime

Mental illness, trauma, personality dysfunction, substance misuse and crime

Risk, intervention, diversion and decarceration approaches and policy

Conference registration

Registrations for the Prato 2023 conference are now open.

Program details

Wendy Sinclair

His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland

As His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, Wendy Sinclair inspects and monitors the 15 prisons across Scotland to establish the treatment of and the conditions for prisoners and to report publicly on the findings.

She is also responsible for the inspection of the treatment of and conditions for prisoners under escort and in the 49 Court Custody units across Scotland.  

Wendy’s career in justice has been built on a background in criminology, education and healthcare management – holding both a Bachelor in Education and a Master in Criminology and Management from Cambridge University.  She has worked across the broader fields of immigration, prisons, education, prisoner transport and health, which enables her to contribute through prisons to a safer community.

She is committed to a holistic approach to reducing reoffending that recognises the influences of trauma, low levels of education, employment and community experiences. Her work in rehabilitation and reintegration saw her awarded, among other awards, the Lord Justice Woolf Award for Resettlement and the Business in the Community Award for HMP Kilmarnock’s partnership work to support families of substance misusers.  

As part of her role, she contributes to the UK’s response to its international obligations under the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. Wendy is also Chair of the UK National Preventive Mechanism Steering Group.

Neil Campbell

General Manager Rautaki Maori – Ara Poutama Aotearoa, Department of Corrections

Neil Campbell is of Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau A Apanui descent. He has worked for Ara Poutama Aotearoa, New Zealand's Department of Corrections, for the past 28 years and held many operational positions.

He is the former Director Maori and General Manager Cultural Capability for the department. Neil currently holds the national position of General Manager Rautaki Maori – Maori Strategy, Partnerships and Outcomes.

Neil is driven by culture in its many contexts and works closely with other jurisdictions on matters of cultural identity and effective ways of working with indigenous peoples within the criminal justice system.

Pernilla Leviner 

Professor in Public Law, Stockholm University

Pernilla Leviner is Professor in Public Law at the Faculty of Law, Stockholm University, Sweden. Her research interests lie within and across public and family law – more specifically child law and social welfare law.

It deals with different aspects of the relation between the state, the family and the individual, including children’s rights – often focusing on the responsibility and role of public authorities. 

Pernilla is also the Director of the Stockholm Centre for the Rights of the Child, Stockholm University – a research centre dealing with child law and children’s rights with a strong focus on interdisciplinary perspectives.

She is the General Editor of the Stockholm Studies in Child Law and Children’s Rights, published by Brill Nijhoff and also the Editor of the Nordic Journal of Social Welfare Law.

Lawrence Jones 

Head of Psychology, Rampton Hospital

Lawrence Jones is Head of Psychology for England's high-security psychiatric Rampton Hospital and is past Chair of the British Psychological Society Division of Forensic Psychology.

His work aims to develop and support trauma-focused psychological interventions across mental health, personality disorder, intellectual disabilities, women's and D/deaf services in the hospital.

He has initiated conferences and co-edited books on trauma-informed care and interventions in forensic settings and on forensic assessment and its problems and biases in measuring offending behaviour using conviction or reconviction.

Lawrence is also Honorary Associate (Clinical) Professor at Nottingham University – teaching in the Forensic doctorate at Nottingham, Sheffield and Leicester clinical programmes.

He has worked in Wormwood Scrubs Prison and a prison-based therapeutic community, where he introduced an early version of schema therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy.

Matthew Wilson

Statewide Program Manager – Family Drug Treatment Court, Children's Court of Victoria

Matt Wilson is the Statewide Program Manager of the Family Drug Treatment Court in the Children’s Court of Victoria and a 2020 Churchill Fellow. Matt has a 25-year history working in a range of statutory, clinical, leadership and managerial roles across the child protection sector.

Matt’s 2020 Churchill Fellowship investigated innovative solution-focused, court-based approaches to infants and their families in care and protection jurisdictions throughout the US and the UK.

Matt has a Bachelor of Social Work, a Postgraduate Diploma in Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health, a Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Practice Leadership, and a Master of Addictive Behaviours.

Following on from the conference, four workshops will be held on Thursday 28 September – two in the morning (9am to 12.30pm) and two in the afternoon (1pm to 4.30pm).

Tickets can be purchased via the conference registration page.

Working with trauma-offending links in clinical practice
  • Time: 9am–12.30pm
  • Speaker: Lawrence Jones

There is increasing recognition that trauma of different kinds is ubiquitous in the backgrounds of people who have offended. Historically there has been a clinical focus on the mental health consequences of different kinds of trauma and adversity, but the relationships with propensity to offend has been a more recent development.

In this workshop, practitioners will be invited to explore the range of different ways in which traumatic experiences can impact on ‘risk processes’ with a view to thinking about how to intervene with these. In addition, consideration will be given to resilience and positive post-traumatic outcomes with a view to thinking about strengths-based working.

Attendees will explore:

  • links between trauma-derived impacts on fear-based systems and offending
  • exploration of cumulative impact of experiences of oppressive experiences such as micro-aggressions linked with being part of a minoritised community
  • links between adverse experiences involving exposure to sexual offending, violent abuse, neglect involving lack of boundaries, emotional abuse, relational ruptures on sexuality, violence as coping, use of dominance behaviours to achieve safety and attachment
  • altered states and emotional processes linked with both trauma and offending
  • the impact of trauma-related dissociation and altered states of consciousness in different ways on offending processes and felt agency.

Suggestions for intervention linked with trauma and adversity-related offending will be explored. The limited evidence base in this area will be outlined. Possibilities for incorporating insights from a forensic perspective on trauma into developing trauma-informed care will be discussed. Possibilities of harmful interventions will be discussed and strategies for avoiding these explored.

Attendees will:

  • develop a more nuanced understanding of trauma and the ways in which it can be linked with offending
  • have a better conceptualisation of ways in which interventions can build resilience and offset adverse impacts of trauma
  • recognise the importance of contextual interventions in preventing relapse and supporting resilience (not just intervening with the person)
  • begin to acknowledge more the impact of adversity linked with being subjected to oppressive experiences.
Answering the big questions in forensic psychology – A workshop on causal inference with observational data
  • Time: 9am–12.30pm
  • Speaker: Ben Spivak

Clinical services and clinicians often want to understand the effectiveness of their interventions on offending behaviour or learn about the link between mental health problems and outcomes like offending. Answering these questions has historically been either impossible or very difficult to answer due to the presence of confounding factors, for example, something that influences both selection into treatment and re-offending (e.g. motivation).

Randomised control trials (RCTs) have generally been regarded as the most rigorous method for answering these questions, at least within human service settings. However, conducting RCTs is often not feasible or ethical in these settings. In the past two decades, a framework and set of methods for establishing cause and effect relationships outside of RCTs has become increasingly popular in disciplines such as epidemiology and econometrics.

This workshop will introduce researchers to a framework for establishing causal inference and a suite of methods that can be utilised to draw causal inferences where RCTs are not feasible or ethical. The workshop requires no background in statistics or methodology. The workshop will cover:

  • models of causation and treatment effects
  • understanding causal relationships through directed acyclic graphs
  • when to control and not to control for variables in establishing a causal relationship
  • instrumental variable designs
  • difference-in-difference designs
  • regression discontinuity designs

Dr Ben Spivak (Senior Lecturer, Forensic Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology) will present this workshop.

Treating stalking - Principles and practice guidance for clinicians
  • Time: 1pm–4.30pm
  • Speaker: Troy McEwan, Michele Galietta, Alan Underwood

Psychologists, psychiatrists and other helping professionals working at the intersection of law and mental health are often asked to assess and treat people who stalk. However, there is very limited evidence to inform treatment and what exists can be difficult to find and integrate.

This workshop draws on recent work by the facilitators to develop a principle-based approach to treating stalking with the goal of reducing harm and ultimately stopping the behaviour. Participants will be introduced to a cognitive behavioural approach to treating people who stalk and guided through 10 principles of stalking treatment based on the presenters’ experience and research with people who stalk over the past two decades.

The workshop will focus on:

  • key assessment strategies to inform treatment
  • the role of risk assessment and management in stalking treatment
  • treatment planning and specific strategies for common treatment needs
  • structuring and managing the treatment relationship to maintain focus and safety.

While primarily focused on psychological interventions, the role of multidisciplinary treatment and management will be discussed. This workshop will provide a practical, research-based and essentially hopeful approach to the treatment of stalking.

On completing the workshop, participants will:

  • be better able to recognise, assess and formulate stalking behaviour
  • have a framework for planning and conducting stalking treatment
  • be aware of common treatment needs and specific strategies
  • be better able to integrate risk management into treatment of stalking.

This workshop will be presented by:

  • Professor Troy McEwan (Professor of Clinical and Forensic Psychology, Swinburne University of Technology and Senior Psychologist, Problem Behaviour Program, Forensicare)
  • Associate Professor Michele Galietta (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, New York)
  • Dr Alan Underwood (University of London and Specialist Clinical Psychologist at the Stalking Threat Assessment Centre, London).
Forensicare welcome reception

Thanks to our partner and event sponsor Forensicare.

  • Date: Monday 25 September 
  • Time: 5.30pm–7.30pm
  • Venue: Interludio il Ristorante (walled-garden restaurant)
  • Fee: The fee is included for all delegates. Tickets for guests can be purchased for A$45 per person.

Forensicare (Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health) is the state-wide specialist provider of forensic mental health services in Victoria, Australia. Forensicare is the only agency in Victoria that provides clinical forensic mental health services which span all components of the mental health and criminal justice sectors – giving Forensicare a unique perspective on mental health and public safety issues. Visit the Forensicare website for more information.

Conference dinner
  • Date: Tuesday 26 September
  • Time: Buses depart from Piazza Santa Maria delle Carceri at 5.30pm sharp
  • Venue: Villa Medici ‘La Ferdinanda
  • Fee: The fee is included for all delegates. Tickets for guests can be purchased for A$145 per person.

Villa Medici ‘La Ferdinanda, located in the medieval village of Artimino, is a magnificent villa where Ferdinando I De’ Medici took residency with his whole court in 1594. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed villa that provides a tranquil setting for special functions. Delegates will be transported from the Monash University Prato Centre directly to the venue via bus.

Conference location

Monash University Prato Centre

Palazzo Vaj
Via Pugliesi, 26
59100 Prato, Italia

The Monash University Prato Centre is located on the ground and first floors of the elegant 18th century Palazzo Vaj on Via Pugliesi in the historic centre of Prato.

Prato, in northern Tuscany, is close to several of Europe's most significant cities and institutions. It is located 20 minutes from Florence and the European University Institute in Fiesole, one hour from Bologna (home to Europe's oldest university), two hours from Rome and three hours from Milan. 

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Further information

Places at the conference are limited and will be allocated on a first-registered basis.

All fees are in Australian dollars and do not include Australian GST. To convert to other currencies, you may use a currency conversion website such as XE Currency Converter as a guide.

Registration fees include the three-day conference, the welcome reception and the conference dinner. Fees do not include insurance of any kind.

Item Fee Note
Early bird registration A$890 Until Monday 21 August 2023
Standard registration A$960 From Tuesday 22 August 2023
Workshops A$220 per half-day workshop  
Welcome reception for additional guest A$45 per additional guest Delegates are welcome to invite guests to the welcome reception and the conference dinner.
Conference dinner for additional guest A$145 per additional guest


Cancellations must be advised in writing by 21 August 2023. There is an A$155 cancellation fee per registration.

After that date, refunds will only be issued in exceptional circumstances. Substitute delegates will be accepted.

Planned strikes in Italy

We have been informed of planned nationwide strikes that may impact train and air travel on Friday 29 September.

If you plan to travel on that day, we recommend delegates speak with their travel agents about possible alternative travel arrangements. To stay up to date with the latest strike notices, please visit the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport website.

By air

Florence airport (Peretola) is approximately 25 minutes by car or 40 minutes by bus to Prato. Taxis and buses run between Prato and Florence airport. A one-way taxi fare from Florence airport to the Monash University Prato Centre can cost 40-50 euro.

A bus service (operated by CAP bus company) departs every 15 minutes outside the airport on the main street. Tickets can be purchased from a newsagent (tabacchi) or on board the bus. You are advised to get off on Via del Ceppo Vecchio just before the castle (Castello dell'Imperatore) and continue on foot for three minutes to the Monash University Prato Centre.

Major airlines such as ITA Airways, British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa operate from Florence airport.

Pisa airport is approximately one hour and 50 minutes to Prato by train (requires changing train twice) or 70 minutes by Terravision bus to Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence. Low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet operate from Pisa airport.

Bologna airport is a 30-minute taxi or bus ride from Bologna train station.

Rome airport (Leonardo Da Vinci-Fiumicino) is a 45-minute train ride to Rome Termini train station and three hours by train to Prato. The route involves three train changes.

By train

There are two train stations operating in Prato:

  • Prato Centrale (main station – 15-minute walk to Palazzo Vaj)
  • Prato Porta al Serraglio (secondary station – five-minute walk to Palazzo Vaj)

Prato is 25 minutes by train from Florence, 50 minutes from Bologna and 90 minutes from Pisa.

It is on Italy's major north-south railway line, which links Rome with Milan, Turin, Munich and beyond.

View train timetable and purchase tickets

Prato offers a variety of accommodation for different needs and budgets – prices are seasonal. Please arrange your own accommodation by contacting hotels directly or consulting their websites.

The Monash University Prato Centre has recommended a range of accommodation options within close proximity to the venue.

A limited number of rooms (Comfort Rooms) have been reserved for delegates at the Hotel Art Milano. Please email to book directly and quote ‘Monash Conference’ when making enquiries.  

There has been a reduction in the number of accommodation providers post-COVID in Prato. We strongly recommend booking accommodation well in advance.  

Visa and consular information

It is the responsibility of delegates to confirm visa requirements and make suitable arrangements. For further information, consult the Italian Embassy in your home country.


Conference registration fees do not include insurance of any kind. We recommended you take out personal travel and medical insurance when you register for the conference and book your travel which includes loss or damage of personal possessions, including loss of hotel payments and registration fees through cancellation.

The conference organisers do not take responsibility for participants failing to arrange their own insurance.


The weather in Northern Italy in September is usually pleasant with an average high of 27°C (80°F) and low of 15°C (59°F). Evenings are usually cooler. As variations in temperature can occur, we recommend you prepare for cooler and warmer weather.

Professor Michael Daffern 

Director – Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science
Swinburne University of Technology

Professor Rosemary Sheehan AM 

Professor Emerita – Department of Social Work
Monash University

Have conference enquiries?

If you have enquiries about the Prato 2023 conference, please contact Brett McIvor (Conference Coordinator) via or +61 3 9214 3887

Email us